06 September 2012
All praying together in Christian unity
"The Church is not just a social work agency; it is not just a bunch of people who do good. It is a bunch of people who should be dependent on God and therefore, more than anything else, what the Church should do is pray. "
That's the message from Paul Bayes, Bishop of Hertford, one of the church leaders backing HOPE, the national mission movement.
He added: "We have to be in line with God's heart and the only way we are going to learn that is if we pray, if we listen to God and if, when we have heard Him, we do what He said."
Bishop Paul is one of hundreds of church leaders, from all denominations, calling Christians in the UK to join All Praying Together, a national weekend of prayer and fasting, asking God to renew the Church and equip us to reach out.
All Praying Together, 7-9 September, is a united weekend of prayer and fasting by individuals and churches of all denominations as part of HOPE – the national mission movement. It links with the cascade of prayer taking place throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which culminates in the National Day of Prayer, on Saturday, 29 September, when thousands of Christians will be praying together at Wembley Stadium.
Roy Crowne, executive director of HOPE, said: "Our vision is that churches will be doing more mission together in words and actions and using key moments in the Christian calendar to build a rhythm of mission. But we know that effective mission is built on a rock of prayer, and without prayer our greatest efforts have little effect or meaning.
"We long for a fresh outpouring of God's love and power on our nation, right now, in times of uncertainty and need. We know we have a powerful God and that prayer can change situations. As ambassadors of God's heavenly kingdom let's be praying as well as responding to needs in our villages, towns and cities."
Pastor Agu Irukwu, senior pastor at Jesus House, called on leaders to lead their churches in fasting and praying for the UK. He said: "The more seriously we approach prayer and fasting, the more serious the results we will experience in our missional journey."
Bishop Paul Bayes added: "I look after 140 vicars and I say to them 'the main thing I can do is to pray for you', because without prayer, without asking God to move, for some reason God chooses not to move.All Praying Together is a chance to do that: to listen to God as a Church and get in line with His mission.
"I hope as many people as possible will, not just pray but also fast and take seriously that everything we do depends on God's foundations."
Resources and ideas for All Praying Together are available from HOPE, including, liturgy, reflections on prayer for individuals and groups to use, creative prayer ideas for all ages, children's prayers, and teaching material on fasting.